Snooze Americana

The French know how to do electro-pop. It’s a tricky balance of dark and light — get it right and you’re looking at a good café au lait; too much froth and the whole batch is spoiled. So it’s a bit strange, perhaps, that French composer/producer Snooze called his second album Americana, but former journalist Dominique Dalcan isn’t looking to go Top 40; he’s just experimenting with the idea of song structures as perfected by the American pop song. To that end, he uses his own vocals for the first time; Dalcan’s not the best singer, but he’s got an appealing, gentle voice that works well with Americana’s soft-focus widescreen tunes. "The Wave” kicks things off with microhouse sweetened by film noir strings, and "People Are Made of Stone” recalls Saint Etienne or Prefab Sprout with its acoustic guitar melody and bouncy beats. It’s nice to hear a down-tempo record where each song is distinct and well-crafted with attention to all the elements, not just ambience. Now there’s a French exchange plenty of other producers would do well to get behind. (Discograph)